SEO for Real Estate Agents and Brokers

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Selling real estate has always been a competitive business, and today's volatile market is even more so, as relatively few good listings and frustrated buyers seem to be the norm. So, what's the key to listing more properties and attracting buyers? The short answer is SEO for real estate. Buyers and sellers both use the internet to find the best local agents and determine which one they should use, which means your site must meet the needs of those customers.

That means your site must be as close to the top of search engine returns as possible, as few people look beyond the first page of returns for a real estate agent. Your site must stand out in the crowd, which means it must be designed to attract clients and demonstrate your real estate expertise. A well-designed website is always important, but a solid SEO strategy is absolutely crucial to compete in the current market.

Think Like a Client

While top agents know their market and understand what it takes to obtain listings and close sales, potential clients must recognize an agent's skills or they'll move on to the next site. Take a close look at your current site as though you are a seller looking for the best local company to market your home or a buyer looking for the best home and terms available.

Start with a search using keywords like “top real estate agents near me” or whatever terms fit your area of expertise. Does your company name or your name pop up, or does it appear on page four of the search results? If your name (or your company name) isn't close to the top of the list, it's time to explore new and innovative ways to boost your ranking so potential clients searching for professional help see your name instead of a competitor's.

In addition, look closely at the site's content. Does it truly reflect your abilities or the company's capacity to provide the services clients want and need? Is the information that's included properly organized and helpful for potential customers? The information should answer the questions customers routinely ask during phone calls, emails, or in-person visits. If it doesn't, now is the time to take a new approach toward your site's overall design, with special attention paid to SEO strategies.

Check the Numbers: Why Websites are Critical for Success in the Real Estate Sales

Recent industry statistics report that virtually all potential real estate clients research online prior to contacting a real estate company or agent. Nearly 50 percent of those customers always look for a business online. In addition, almost 30 percent of online searches for local real estate agents result in a transaction. Those statistics highlight some important reasons for having a quality website.

However, there's one more statistic real estate companies and individual agents need to look at closely: 75 percent of potential customers searching for a company online never contact anyone not in the first one or two pages of returns. Most of those people don't go beyond the first page. While those statistics vary slightly, depending on the source of the research, they are very similar.

Statistics offer great insights into the way people shop for a real estate agent to represent them, and it pays to determine whether you are getting the maximum number of responses to your site. That's where SEO for real estate comes into play.

Taking the First Step Starts Now

If you're not already working closely with website design and SEO experts to enhance your site's return on investment, now is the time to take steps to do so. Remember that website design and SEO are not synonymous. Your company can use the area's best experts to design a beautiful site and still not see any significant return on that investment without quality SEO services.

Start With Local SEO

The vast majority of real estate agents work primarily with local buyers and sellers, which suggests attracting those clients is always important. There are close to 500,000 real estate brokers and companies in the U.S., but local SEO focuses on competing with a relatively few local companies rather than all real estate companies in the country.

To start ranking higher locally, take advantage of Google Business Profile to get your name or company listed and visible to anyone buying or selling real estate in the area. Google then has your name, address, business hours, and the services provided.

On-Page SEO is the Next Step

Your SEO team understands the importance of on-page SEO, but everyone should have a basic understanding of the term and why it's crucial for boosting your ranking on search engine returns. The algorithms Google and the other search engines crawl sites to evaluate whether the information is useful to users.

Remember that search engines are businesses. If they don't deliver what users are looking for, those users will go elsewhere. That means the search engines are always looking for ways to ensure users are happy. If your site includes content users want, the search engine will move it up in the rankings. On the other hand, if a site's content is lacking, it will be moved down in the listings or removed from the returns.

SEO for real estate ensures users are more likely to see your site and contact you for information related to their need to buy or sell a property. The idea is to generate productive leads that convert to listings and sales. Your SEO team provides the strategies needed to increase sales in even the most competitive markets. So, what's involved in on-page SEO?

Google and the other search engines crawl every site looking for specific characteristics needed to determine whether your site should be ranked higher. Technical elements they look for include title tags, meta descriptions, the URL structure, header tags, keywords, and both internal and external links. If your site is lacking any of their requirements, its ranking will suffer.

While all the elements mentioned are important, the search engines seem to be paying close attention to keywords and links. Those two elements must be present to ensure the site's ranking is improved or, at the very least, doesn't suffer.

Real estate SEO isn't a one-and-done project, as every site needs updating to be meaningful in an ever-changing market. The basic needs of buyers and sellers may remain relatively constant, but the strategies used to resolve those needs change as other conditions evolve. The highly competitive markets now seen in many regions provide a good example. Today's sellers and buyers both face challenges that are totally different than those commonly seen three or four years ago, and real estate websites must consider the current conditions as SEO updates are made.

Focus on Content for Optimal Results

During the early years of the internet, sites rarely changed their content. There was no compelling reason to do so. Competition was limited, and the search engines didn't really care how often a site's content was updated. That's all changed, and today sites that are not updated frequently will see a significant hit in their ranking.

One issue that pops up far too often is a lack of consistency between information on the website and what users see on social media sites. Names, phone numbers, business hours, and addresses must be the same everywhere the real estate company is mentioned to avoid issues with the search engines. Even minor inconsistencies may result in the search engines ranking algorithms penalizing the site.

Once past the basic information, real estate SEO professionals encourage companies and agents to update a site's content frequently to keep it fresh and relevant. Again, consider what site visitors are looking for when visiting the site and focus on providing content that addresses their needs.

For example, mention changes or improvements in a community that enhance the area's livability. When new amenities are added, or existing ones expand, mention the changes in your site's content to attract the interest of potential clients.

When local market conditions change, note how those changes impact buyers or sellers and explain how you'll use the changes to your clients' advantage. If the interest rates are expected to go up or down, encourage users to buy or sell when the conditions are optimal.

Real estate SEO experts encourage site owners to rely on third-party content creators when appropriate. Not everyone has the time to update a site's content as frequently as needed, which means accepting help from others is an option to consider.

When it's time to make hard decisions related to a site's content, SEO for real estate experts will listen to your concerns and recommend possible solutions. Since every site's needs will vary to some extent, taking the time to explore all available options before making decisions is always recommended. Because content makes a significant difference in the end results the site's owners see, choosing wisely is crucial.

Creating the Best Experience for All Site Visitors

The way people obtain and use data is also evolving rapidly. In past years, the majority of site visitors relied on desktop computers. Gradually, users moved to laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones to obtain information and shop for goods and services.

A major downside to that change was that sites built for use by desktop and laptop computer users didn't work well with tablets and smartphones. The sites required extensive reworking to be mobile-friendly, and even today not all sites are optimized for mobile device users.

One strategy sites are employing to lure more mobile users is reducing the reliance on text and moving to pictures, videos, and other forms of graphics that work well with all types of devices. Real estate SEO experts emphasize the importance of being mobile-friendly and work with clients to ensure their sites work well with all devices.

Nothing stays the same for long, and SEO experts are already encouraging site owners to prepare now for an upsurge in the use of new categories of devices like the Apple Watch, which will require even more changes in the way sites are designed and used.

Keeping Up with Your Competitors

Real estate SEO experts also encourage owners to track their site's performance. Doing so allows the owners to discover issues faster, which means those problems can be corrected before serious damage to the site's ranking occurs.

Lead tracking is also crucial for real estate professionals, as qualified leads are valuable. Clients at different stages of the buying or selling process need regular attention to keep them coming back. Proper SEO strategies help real estate professionals stay in touch with clients as they move through the sales funnel.

Regular reports also allow real estate site owners to update their site as conditions and client needs evolve. When one strategy is no longer working as expected, SEO reporting allows site owners to evaluate how to proceed. In some cases, minor changes will reverse a negative trend. In other instances, major updates are required to move forward.

Choosing Your SEO for Real Estate Team

With the large number of SEO service providers available, choosing one isn't always easy. However, there are specific factors to consider when selecting a real estate SEO team. First, the provider must have experience working with real estate professionals, as the industry has some unique challenges other businesses don't face.

In addition, the SEO for real estate experts need to provide a variety of services routinely required by real estate professionals. On-page SEO expertise is always a must, but off-page SEO, backlink development, content auditing, and other services are all important.

Once real estate professionals establish a relationship with an SEO expert, keeping in touch is crucial, as the site must be updated on a regular schedule to stay ahead of competitors and remain in compliance with search engine requirements.

To get started, take time now to contact real estate SEO experts for an evaluation of your site and recommendations to improve its performance. Careful planning and attention to detail now will enhance your future conversion rates.

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